This is a big topic, and whichever article or blog you read, or person you talk to, they’ll have their own take on it. Despite differing opinions and approaches, there’s one thing we know for certain. Brand awareness is pretty darn important. We are going to discuss everything brand awareness. Here’s a sneak peak of what’s to come and buckle up, because you’re going to be a pro after this!
What is Brand Awareness?
To put it simply, it’s a marketing term that looks at how aware people are of your brand, and how familiar it feels to your target audience. This can be achieved through a variety of marketing efforts (which we will get on to), but one of the main ways is through your visual identity.
For example, at Milk & Tweed, we have our cow. Why a cow? Milk and Tweed! We could have gone for the tweed angle, but we decided to make things easier for ourselves! Our cow imagery, followed by our striking black and yellow combo, is what makes our business unique and how a lot of our clients and loyal followers would recognise us.
In order to increase your brand awareness, you need to first be aware of what makes up your brand and the elements that make you unique so that you can better understand how to become recognisable amongst your target audience. If you need to go back to basics and understand a bit more about branding first, we have you covered in this article.
The Importance of Brand Awareness
There’s no better way to say it; without a strong brand, you will have a very poor sales funnel (which we talk more about here). It’s the awareness of your brand that gets you the trust and recognition that enables potential clients to become actual clients. That is, after all, the objective of brand awareness.
A high level of brand awareness will keep your business at the top of consumers’ minds. You want to aim for your brand to become synonymous with your product or service. You need to vacuum? You Hoover. You need to wrap a parcel? You reach for the Sellotape. These tasks are associated with the most successful brands for that market and are fantastic examples of companies that have strong brand awareness.
There’s plenty of resources out there that outline how to gain customers and their loyalty, but whichever you choose to hang your hat on, they will most likely start with awareness. If your customers don’t know you exist, they’re not going to purchase from you. Get brand awareness right at the beginning, and you will be starting them on a journey to becoming brand advocates, a very effective way of marketing your business without you having to lift a finger!
Positive brand awareness can enable a premium price tag too, as there can be a perceived product superiority linked to greater brand awareness. Think Seat or Skoda versus Audi.
How Can I Increase My Brand Awareness?
Utilising the internet is an effective way to reach your potential audience and raise your brand awareness. Why? Because adult internet users in the UK spent almost four hours per day online, with ¾ of that time using a smartphone. Young adults (18-24) spent just over 5 hours. That’s a lot of time spent looking at a screen! What we’re saying is that you have a captive audience whilst they’re active online.
There is still a place in our digital world for offline brand awareness, however. Utilising your logo around the office such as on your physical documentation (leaflets, magazine articles etc) and promotional products (pens, calendars, mugs etc), are still useful to ensure potential and existing customers keep your organisation at the front of their minds. Especially if clients come to visit!
Product packaging and distribution is also a great opportunity to show off your brand. Business cards, personalised stickers, your logo on the box – anything and everything to show off who you are! Even wearing clothing with your brand logo can help create subconscious associations with your brand. You’ll often see our team rocking the Tweed merch!
Here are some key ways that you can increase your brand awareness:
Socialise with your consumers
Social contact helps us all to stay connected by getting to know each other and getting known by others. That’s why modern day marketing is no longer just about getting sales! Connecting with potential and existing consumers is the most effective way to create long-term relationships with them and the strategies that are thinking long-term are the ones that will be seeing the best results – trust us!
There are lots of different ways you can interact with your audience, but social media might be the most powerful of all. The ability to ask questions, share their content, reply to comments etc allows you to make it known that you’re listening, and create conversations around your brand! Don’t just post about your products or services, because who wants to read about how great your new widget is all the time? You’ll be seen if you make yourself seen and talking back to them is a pretty effective way to do so.
Podcasts can also be a great opportunity to get your business out there and connect with your audience. Not all methods have to be visual. The ability to hear your business and what they have to say contributes to the different ways your business can make themselves known. Strong associations can be made when you try to target all the senses.
Tell a story
Linked to socialising, telling stories about your business – your founder, first product, success stories – can be very endearing. Without realising it, as people read your stories, they will be gaining awareness of who your brand is and what you stand for.
Infographics can be a great way to tell stories, and they are becoming very popular. They are visual, engaging and can be easier to read or consume than a written article. Posts with visuals get more engagement and the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text!
Sharing, by consumers and yourself
Word-of-mouth marketing, similar to brand advocates, is a great way to establish trust and familiarity amongst your community because it’s coming from the mouth of the consumers themselves! By having an easy to remember name, tag line etc, people are more likely to talk about your business as opposed to an individual product.
Sharing is easiest to do online, and it’s especially effective because of the amount of people you can reach! Simple tasks such as enabling your posts to be easily shared, adding social tags and making them look visually appealing increases the likelihood of your followers sharing your content. The people that they share it with will then become aware of your brand, too.
This isn’t just down to your consumers. Get your team involved too! Make sure that they are sharing your posts, shouting about your business and tagging you when they share company news. Who knows, you might have future customers lying within your own personal network!
Sponsorship opportunities can be very worthwhile. They don’t have to be multi-million pound sponsorships, such as the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. They could be as simple as a billboard or a banner. If you’re a parent who stands on the sideline every weekend, you’ll have seen plenty of brands which have tapped into your psyche placed around the pitch.
If you can match your brand’s personality to the event you sponsor, all the better. Consider Red Bull and their sponsorship of extreme sports such as cliff diving and motocross. Their tagline “Red Bull gives you wings” is frequently recounted when their drink is consumed.
What Should My Brand Awareness Strategy Include?
Brand awareness is for life, not just for Christmas. Your strategy will develop over time, but it should include some or all of the following suggestions in order to be well-rounded and maximise its potential:
These are short and catchy phrases which can become synonymous with your brand. Alongside logos, they can be very powerful in your brand’s awareness journey. Consider Nike – you see the tick and you automatically know the brand, and if you hear ‘Just do it’, your mind goes straight to Nike and their countless campaigns.
A good slogan should try to condense what your brand stands for, explain your USP (Unique Selling Point), what you offer and why customers should choose you. (We didn’t say it was easy!)
Any images or symbols that can be associated with your brand can also be beneficial. This can be your logo, but it doesn’t have tobe. Think of the large blue X of Halifax; the mouse ears symbol of Disney; the four coloured squares of Microsoft.
Our branding team can help you create a kick-ass logo or set of brand assets that you can use to increase your brand awareness and create a more consistent identity across all of your your marketing and communications.
Guest blogs and sponsored content
Utilising the benefit of another company’s traffic can be a great way to increase the awareness of your brand. You can provide helpful and relevant content for another audience through guest writing an article for one of your supplier’s or doing a social media take over on one of their accounts.
Sponsored content could be a cost-effective way of raising brand awareness if it’s posted on websites that target your niche.
Another way to join forces and take advantage of another company’s audience, is to co-market products and services. This could involve a joint offer with a similar or complementary brand; co-hosting a podcast or Instagram live, for example. Partnering with another brand can be very rewarding, with the potential to significantly increase your profile by reaching a brand new audience.
Faces and Mascots
In a similar way to images and slogans, having a mascot or a recognisable face linked to your brand can increase brand awareness. Football teams often have mascots. You might not know they were called Cyril and Cybil, but you’d recognise the Swans of Swansea, or Gully the seagull of Brighton and Hove Albion. Perhaps more famously, the twisty moustache and beautiful singing voice of the GoCompare man (no, we don’t know his real name either, but we do know their jingle is catchy!)
Some companies choose to have animated characters as mascots, too. Anyone fancy an M&M or need a new battery for their Duracell bunny?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
There are many ways SEO can increase brand awareness. Gone are the days when an excessive amount of keywords on your website would make a big difference to your search engine rankings. SEO strategies are more complex and more user-focussed now (which is why it’s important to onboard professionals who know what they’re doing, like us!)
The UK’s ad market is predicted to grow by 3.9% totalling £36.3 billion, as high inflation and stagnation are expected to subside. Much of this expenditure consists of SEO.
Using SEO effectively can be a bit of a minefield, which is where experts like Milk and Tweed come into play, but if you’re just starting out in SEO, consider ‘long-tail’ keywords. These are phrases generally made from three to five words that make the search more specific than generic terms. They allow you to target niche demographics and tend to be less competitive than generic keywords, but can be very effective, especially if you have a lot of competition in your business area.
What’s The Best Way to Measure Brand Awareness?
Every customer journey is different and categorically speaking, putting a specific return on investment (ROI) value on marketing and brand awareness is tricky, if not impossible. How do you know how many people clocked your billboard as they drove past, let alone if they did anything about it when they got home?
Don’t worry, there are a few ways that you can track your brand awareness efforts, and we were kind enough to list them below:
These are good to do on a regular basis. By asking your audience their perceptions and assumptions about your brand, you can assess how your audience is thinking and feeling about your brand. By analysing the data from the survey, you will be able to gain insights in what is needed to continue shaping your brand and your image.
It is possible to track month by month differences in web traffic, and whilst it isn’t an exact measurement of brand awareness, it does enable you to see if your marketing efforts are making a difference to the number of visitors to your website.
Google Analytics (one of our favourite platforms) can show statistics related to pages viewed, the growth of new users and so much more. Other analytic tools, such as Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner can help with designing a website which will increase your brand awareness.
Within Google Analytics there is an important brand awareness metric – branded search volume. The more times a search has included your brand name, the better. Reach out to the Milk & Tweed digital marketing team if you’d like help on increasing web traffic and seeing tangible results!
‘What on earth is social listening?’ we hear you ask. This is the ‘chatter’ on social media which either rants or raves about your company. There are tools which can ‘listen’ to this chatter and give analysis which can be extremely useful.
Checking who your followers are can give you very valuable insights into your current audience. Are they the people you thought would follow you? What else do they like, and perhaps, more importantly, who else do they like? If they also follow a competitor, that could mean they’re considering other businesses. These insights give you opportunities to gain a competitive advantage and assess your weaknesses so that you can better appeal to your target audience.
The reach of any of your posts – the number of people who actually see them, is a key metric to planning future posts for maximum brand awareness.
And don’t forget social talking (a term we may or may not have made up). Your profile pages need to reflect your brand. You only get a few seconds to grab someone’s attention, so you’ve got to be attractive and informative, but at a quick glance! You can use your cover photos or images as a chance to reinforce your purpose and tagline, as well as the content you post.
These little squares can be a godsend, particularly for monitoring the ROI on your offline awareness campaigns. By placing one of these on your posters, packaging and magazine articles etc, you can link them to specific landing pages and it gives you a way to monitor the effectiveness of your offline campaigns. Bear in mind that not everyone will use them, but those that are keen to find out more will, and let’s face it, they are the people you want to attract!
Looking to Increase Your Brand Awareness?
If all of this has made you realise that you need help to bring your brand back to life and to go back to basics, you may want to consider a rebrand! Head over to our rebrand blog to find out why this could be the route for you and how we can help.
If you’re looking to raise your brand awareness, contact us today! We don’t like to brag, but as an award winning graphic design, web design and digital marketing agency, we can help with all aspects of your brand awareness strategy and we make sure to smash it out of the park every time. Don’t believe it? Check it out for yourselves.